The #SelfLove Glitch
There are days, I doubt myself. I feel like my world is collapsing, because I did not say a ‘thank you’ or nod in emphatic agreement with a stranger. I feel like I want to run away from everything and everyone. And yet, even if I do, how will I ever run away from myself? This body, its experiences, its thoughts, and doubts are mine, and if I ever want to end them, that’ll also be the end of me.
Today is one such day. Maneuvering through the dark recesses of my mind, I arrive at questions that only seem to lend to an endless chain of other questions. I mindlessly open social media. Instagram’s pioneers have one remedy for thoughts like mine - #SelfLove.
I open the hashtag-self-love page and explore what this magical remedy is all about. I see pictures with other similar hashtags all piled one on top of the other like papers in an old library of rebels, seized, waiting to be burnt. But the library of our mind has no easy way out – if only burning our bad thoughts was as simple, without the happy ones too turning into shallow, weightless ash.
‘#SpaDay, #WineNight, #NetflixAndChill’, one after the other, a series of hashtags define self-love as everything marshmallow-y, rosy; a purple-pink-capitalistic-washing of a deeper, darker journey. Excited to try it out, I go on a #WineNight #SelfLove journey. After some time, I sit, wine in hand, swirling it smooth. However, the only thoughts that storm my mind are doubts about the past and worries about the future. “What am I doing with a glass of wine in hand on a Monday night? What is this #SelfLove anyway?” I think to myself. But before I can slip into a domino of thoughts, I decide to do the important thing - I pull out my phone, click a beautifully composed picture of the wine glass with some houseplants in the backdrop and post it with #SelfLove.
Phew! Now that #SelfLove is done, I open my journal, still unclear about what self-love really is. Here’s what I write.
“What is self-love? To answer this, I’ve to know what love is. To answer this, I’ve to remember what it felt like to feel love for someone. See I told you, questions leading to a chain of other questions! While trying to recall loving someone, I am reminded of my first pet pup, Sasha. I felt love towards him because I always understood when he was hungry, even though we couldn’t speak to each other.
So then, love had to be about – understanding. If that is so, then self-love, can be directly translated to self-understanding. Suddenly, the piles of uploads - #SpaDay, #NetflixAndChill, #SoloDate - don’t make much sense. How can self-love be about sipping a glass of wine and uploading a picture online?” I write. I think of draining the glass of wine in the sink, but my half-middle-class, half-capitalistic self doesn’t agree. So, I drain it down my throat and continue writing with a lot more intensity.
“Self-love then has to be about experiencing things that make you understand yourself better. As I put my pen to paper, I realize that the only way of understanding myself is if I listen to myself.” And I begin writing everything the voice in my head dictates, sometimes many voices all at once, but who cares? I want to understand them all. And my journal, fills and fills, as I sit there for hours, vomiting out words I don’t recognize but feelings that seem familiar, coloring the pages with the fluid expressions of my soul.
They are profound fluids. There is some pink-love, blue-nostalgia, yellow-joy, green-contempt, murky-brown-doubt, red-hot-anger, deep-purple-disappointment, white-peace, black-heartless-greed-mixed-with-hatred, I decide to understand all the aspects of myself.
After I am done writing, I look at the page. It isn’t just pink-purple-Instagram-y, the page or me. We’re colorful and even though in some places we are as beautiful as ugly, we look like a masterpiece.
I realize that self-love is a journey of darkness. Giving voice to all the lesser liked things about myself and the deep-deep-disappointments, isn’t anything like the pictures on the #SelfLove page. I shut the diary and smile, thinking I feel loved, finally, with a pile of pages that make me feel like I understand myself a little bit more than pouring a pink-purple-Instagram-y glass of hashtag-self-love anyway.